Biden, video to thank Americans is inspired by contemporary artwork

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris thank Americans with a video explicitly inspired by a work of contemporary art. Here is the video and its story.

“A country for all Americans, a future for alla Americans, a president for alla Americans.” This is the motto with which the thank-you video that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, newly elected president and vice president of the United States of America, respectively, released in recent hours for their postelection campaign, the post-election campaign with which the new administration presents itself to Americans, closes. In the video we see many cross-sections of American society (blue-collar workers, farmers, city workers, sportsmen, athletes, artists, children, students, families) from every corner of the country, from cities to vast prairies, from forests to long beaches on the Ocean, carrying a few empty, golden frames and using them to create many different self-portraits by simply putting them in front of their faces. All while the notes of Ray CharlesAmerica the beautiful play in the background.

Biden and Harris’ idea is to create a kind of gallery of all the faces of the United States of America to give the idea of an administration that will build an inclusive country that sees differences as a value, and to communicate a message of unity to a nation that needs to be put back together. It is an idea that has a definite reference in contemporary art and is directly inspired by a work from the 1980s: in fact, it was 1983 when Jamaican-born U.S. artist Lorraine O’ Grady (Boston, 1934), one of the seminal names in Black Art and feminist art, brought the same golden frame to the African-American Day Parade in Harlem, New York, to make the participants so many works of art in order to convey the sense of community of African Americans. A performance entitled Art is... then repeated on other occasions until 2009.

The Alexander Gray Associates gallery, which represents Lorraine O’Grady, let it be known that the artist had seen the video. "As in her performance,“ the gallery states, ”the video focuses on individual Americans, unifying their experiences through the shared device of the frame. O’Grady wrote that Art is... was ’made in a spirit of euphoria that had spread throughout the day,’ and this euphoria is now reflected in Biden’s video, which celebrates untamed freedom of expression.“ The artist also commented on the video, saying that ”I gave to them, and they gave to me."

A post-election video is an unusual way to communicate in America, but it has been a huge success, because since it was first posted, on Twitter, it has been viewed 40 million times. And it is interesting that Joe Biden’s communications staff wanted to convey this content by explicitly drawing inspiration from a major work of art by a contemporary artist, moreover associated with Black Art.

Below, Joe Biden’s video and, in the image, a still from the video for the newly elected president’s campaign and a detail of Lorraine O’Grady’s performance.

Biden, video to thank Americans is inspired by contemporary artwork
Biden, video to thank Americans is inspired by contemporary artwork

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